In the early 20th century, the desire to see clothing in motion flourished on both sides of the Atlantic: models tangoed, slithered, swaggered, and undulated before customers in couture houses and department stores. The Mechanical Smile traces the history of the earliest fashion shows in France and the United States from their origins in the 1880s to 1929, situating them in the context of modernism and the rationalization of the body. Fashion shows came into being concurrently with film, and this book explores the connections between fashion and early cinema, which arguably functioned as what Walter Benjamin called “new velocities”—forces that altered the rhythms of modern life.
Using significant new archival evidence, The Mechanical Smile shows how so-called “mannequin parades” employed the visual language of modernism to translate business and management methods into visual seduction. Caroline Evans, a leading fashion historian, argues for an expanded definition of modernism as both gestural and performative, drawing on literary and performance theory rather than relying on art and design history. The fashion show, Evans posits, is a singular nodal point where the disparate histories of commerce, modernism, gender, and the body converge.
|Type of Research:||Book|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
Caroline Evans is professor of fashion history and theory at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, a constituent college of the University of the Arts London, as well as a visiting professor at the Centre for Fashion Studies, Stockholm University.
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||Fashion history and theory, early history of modelling and the fashion show|
|Publisher/Broadcaster/Company:||Yale University Press|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design|
Colleges > Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
|Date:||14 June 2013|
|Projects or Series:||Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)|
|Deposited By:||Christopher Vanja|
|Deposited On:||18 Oct 2012 15:58|
|Last Modified:||23 Jun 2014 16:32|